Appalachia History

The Legend of Abraham Lincoln and WNC

Abram Enloe Murphy NC

Photo from the NCGenWeb Project 

All my life I’ve heard the legend that Abraham Lincoln was not the son of Thomas Lincoln but actually the illegitimate son Abram Enloe, a man who is buried in Murphy. I’ve read accounts that made me believe the legend was true and I’ve read accounts that made me believe it was false.

Recently Wanda Stalcup, Director of the Cherokee County Historical Museum, and Billy Ray Palmer, local Historian, were interviewed about the legend on Channel 5 WRAL.

If you’d like to read more about the legend of Lincoln’s paternity a quick google will turn up lots of information. If you visit Murphy, the Cherokee County Historical Museum is a must stop. Wanda makes you feel right at home and is very knowledgeable about the history of the area and you might even get to meet Billy Ray if he’s volunteering on the day you drop by.



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  • Reply
    Jane Poindexter
    March 12, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    My husband Mother always said Abe Lincoln was related to her family through Abraham Enloe .And one of the things was the fact that the family had large heads . Would love to know the truth about this .

  • Reply
    Nancy Schmidt
    April 17, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    If a person will take time to survey lots of photos of men from the southern mountains during those years, you will notice many men have facial characteristics that we don’t see often now. Even Jefferson Davis looks like he could be Lincoln’s brother.

  • Reply
    Candy Davis
    April 17, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I heard this story years ago and, like you, I have read lots to make me think it is true, and lots to make me think it isn’t. Last time I was in the museum in Murphy, I told Wanda I was headed across the street to the cemetery, and she asked me if I knew about the story! One of my great-grandfather’s sisters married into the Enloe family and they are buried in Harshaw cemetery along with many of my ancestors. It is an interesting story. We will probably never know if it is true!

  • Reply
    April 16, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Pretty fascinating! I would like to see more research into this story.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 16, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Many of my ancestors lived in the areas of North Carolina and Kentucky that claim to be Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace at about the time of his birth and early childhood. I have heard the Enloe parentage stories but have never pursued them even though I have his so called half brother in my family tree. I would be more interested in disproving than proving a kinship with the man if I thought it was possibly true. Besides, history is written by historians who faithfully sift through historical documents and artifacts until they find the evidence that proves their originally theory and faithfully disregard all else.
    There is another rumor circulating on the internet saying the Abraham Lincoln had no middle name. I personally know that not to be true. My great grandmother Mabel’s best friend Beulah read in a newspaper column published not too long after he died and it stated that his middle name was Elvis.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 16, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    All this stuff is news to me. Guess we’ve been lied to since the days of the Pyramids but it would be nice to know that one of our best Presidents came from Cherokee County…Ken

  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    April 16, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Probably true! Never heard this story before! Very interesting!
    Carol R.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    April 16, 2016 at 10:07 am

    I have heard this local legend for years and feel that Abraham Enloe is Abraham Lincoln’s biological father. The problem with this News Story is the picture they allege to be Abraham Enloe is actually Abraham Enloe’s son Wesley Enloe who shares many similarities with Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln according to the legend was born near to Bostic then moved with the Enloe family to the Oconaluftee farm of Abraham Enloe. The present Oconaluftee Visitor Center located in the Great Smoky Mountain Park is on the Enloe Farm. Like you stated there is a lot of information online about this legend and references a lot of interesting reading. I know some of Abraham Enloe’s desendents who have more pictures of the Enloe family and Lincoln’s resemblance to several of these family members is uncanny. In fact some of the Enloes feel that their ancestor is Lincoln’s father.

  • Reply
    April 16, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Never heard that story (sounds reasonable) and not a big fan of Abe Lincoln. Let the sleeping “dog” lie.

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    April 16, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Very interesting story! I have heard it all my life. My Uncle Virgil took us to the grave sight. It exciting to think that Abraham Lincoln may have ties to Murphy. He sure does look like Abram Enloe!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 16, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Tip, that is some story and one I’ve never heard! You’ve heard the old saying, “one picture is worth a thousand words”, well in this case two pictures tell the story.

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